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Alternative Medicine/Difference Between Herbs and Drugs?


Hi Eric,

What is the difference between how herbs and pharmaceutical drugs work?  
I've come up with the following :-
a) Drugs have primarily one active ingredient at a higher dose whereas herbs have multiple active ingredients at a much lower dose.
b) Drugs work primarily on one metabolic pathway whereas herbs work on multiple pathways.
c) Drugs need to be taken every day, for life in chronic conditions; whereas herbs can be taken intermittently.
d) One drug is usually taken for one condition whereas multiple herbs can be taken intermittently for the same condition.
e) Drugs have unwanted side effects whereas herbs have side benefits.
f) Herbs also have unwanted side effects, but to a far lesser degree than drugs.

Any feedback, corrections welcome!


Hi Usuff,
A) False. Drugs sometimes have moe than one active ingredient.
B) False. Drugs sometimes have multiple mechanisms of actions
C) False. I often see medications taken on an alternate day basis to achieve the desired thapeutic result
D) False. Some drugs are used for more than one condition. Example. Some anticonvulsants are used to manage pain.
E)False. Both pharmaceutical preparations and herbal preparations have undesirable side effects.
F) False. Adverse effects of drugs and herbs vary in severity and frequency. The response varies depending on the individual bein treated.

Remember, if a substance is potent enough to be helpful, it is also potent enough to be harmful.

Thank you for using Allexperts.
Eric Brandt, B.Sc. Pharm

Alternative Medicine

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Eric Brandt


I will answer questions regarding prescripion and non prescription drugs as well as commonly used mdicinal herbs. I will also answer questions on various medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, thyroid problems, diabets, menopause, parkinson`s disease, multiple sclerosis, depression etc.


I am a practicing hospital pharmacist with 10 years experience in hospital and 10 years retail pharmacy experience prior to that.
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